Tuesday, 25 March 2008

God helps those who help themselves

"God helps those who help themselves" ~ Ben Franklin

I came across this saying a long time back and was pretty impressed by it. I often get annoyed when people surrender to circumstances and bluntly blame destiny for their failures and problems in life without even attempting to improve things for themselves when clearly certain things are in their control. So I quote them this saying and ask them to think about it deeply. I will share my thoughts on it.

We have to make righteous efforts on our part and then leave the results to Allah and trust Him with the outcome He wills for us. Our efforts and hard work never go in vain. Allah doesn't overlook the struggle we go through. He has promised us rewards essentially in the hereafter and from my experiences and observation one does get rewarded in this life too, though sometimes in a different way than we expect. There is just and mercy in all of Allah's decision. It is for a strong believer to realize that whatever happens, happens for the best and if one is patient this realization is affirmed with time. Things might not turn out the way we hope for. Regardless, it is our obligation to sincerely work for what we wish to attain. To wait for things to happen and destiny to shine without efforts on our part when we truly are capable of doing wonders, is being ungrateful to the capabilities Allah has blessed us with. Not only is it an ungrateful mentality, it is being unintelligent too.

"Nothing happens by itself, all will come your way, once you understand that you have to make it come your way, by your own exertions." ~Ben Stien

This is not in contrary to reliance on Allah and Trust in Allah to fulfill all our needs.
Indeed Allah is most giving and the ultimate provider and facilitator. But it is our job to reach out and make the most of His countless blessings. The Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) said, “Rely on God, and don’t deem yourself incapable.” (Related by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayra – God be pleased with him)

Sunnah entails that one should strive to respond to all challenges that arise in the best way possible(i.e in true Islamic spirit in terms of intentions, goals and means). In the journey of life everybody faces obstacles and difficulties. Success doesn't come in a silver platter. History is full of examples where people assumed responsibility and changed the quality of their lives amidst all the negativity. The obstacles are there, but the opportunities are there too, for the positive minded to see. Allah (s.w.t) says in is book: Verily with hardship comes ease; verily with hardship comes ease.(Sûrah al-Sharh: 5-6) . Those who realize that the hardships of life are transient, preceded and followed by times of ease are those who eventually succeed. Blaming fate, and getting bitter about life is not the way. People of faith continue to strive and await Allah's blessing. Being patient being one form of expressing trust in Allah.

God helps those who helps themselves. Destiny favors those who help themselves. I believe so, do you?

I quote a short story from Paulo Cohelo's book Maktub :

A master and his disciple are riding across the Saudi Arabian desert. The master makes use of every moment of their ride to teach the disciple about faith. "Trust in God," he says. "God never abandons his children." At night, in their camp, the master asks the disciple to tie the horses to a nearby rock. The disciple goes to the rock, but remembers what the master has taught him: "He must be testing me," he thinks. "I should leave the horses to God." And he leaves the horses unfettered. In the morning, the disciple sees that the horses have disappeared. Revolted, he comes back to his master. "You know nothing about God," he exclaims. "I left the horses in His care, and now the animals are gone." "God wanted to care for the horses," the master answered. "But to do that, he needed your hands to tie them."


Saira Andleeb said...

i wonder if the horses would be angry at god for not taking care of them and leaving their fate to a naive who didnt tie them up !

point to ponder haan!

hadi said...

God surely helps those who help themselves....but sometimes long efforts make one so tired.....sometimes u dont even find the result of helping urself.....its like u r trying to make things right on urside but they keep on getting worse...

Anonymous said...

Nice article :) ... Totally agree that 'God helps those who help themselves'. Its like most western minds say, hard work with "luck" gives you success. I believe its Allah that needs to be with you :)

@ Saira Andleeb: Point to ponder :) .. well ... this is a long debate in different religions that whether animals have souls or not? Your point relates to that too :) ... or maybe, God helped them through the guy, he left them unattended and they helped themselves(by running) and got the FREEDOM :D


Saira Andleeb said...

i forgot to add ":P" at the end of my comment.

@farhan: may be the horses are happy, but then may be they are not.
when i wrote that i had in mind this 15/16 years old boy who raped her 10/11 years old cousin who was left in his care.

i wonder if the girl feels any thing closer to good even.

this is just an example, but yes when it comes to our literal horses here they might be very happy and well taken care of.

and try using the name/url option when ur writing a comment


Saira Andleeb said...

@Syra: since now i know u know farhan, tell me who he is, cos i wanna give a body to this very talkative "soul" in my head.


Farhan Hafeez said...

Its the same Farhan from Professional Services department of a company you are trying to stream with Xerox :P

About Name/URL ... OK :)

Syra said...

hint: the wiz kid from FAST =)

Saira Andleeb said...

@farhan: aah ur from PS .. i thot u were from dev too

what i meant was that i wanna see what this "energetic" soul looks like ... NO not your aura .. your face ... :P ... so that your no more a ghost :P

@Syra: wiz kid .. that innocent kid from your batch who wears glasses ??

Farhan Hafeez said...

lolzzzz ....... "innocent kid from your batch who wears glasses"

Saira Andleeb said...

innocent looking ***

Syra said...

=), nopes..not the dude from my batch...keep guessing.

Saira Andleeb said...

let him stay a ghost, since im a ghost for him too :P :)

Btw this ben frankil quote. Quran says something of the sort too :

"Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves;" Quran (13:11)

Farhan Hafeez said...

To be very honest, I don't have even a hint of what you ppl are discussing here right now :S

Seems like a girly talk :S

Syra said...

there was a ghost in my T.V =)
now ghosts on my blog :)

on a serious note,some literature below:

Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves;

That is from the Qur'an, Chapter 13, verse 11. The commentary is below.

Lit., "that which is in themselves". This statement has both a positive and a negative connotation: i.e., God does not withdraw His blessings from men unless their inner selves become depraved (cf. 8:53), just as He does not bestow His blessings upon willful sinners until they change their inner disposition and become worthy of His grace. In its wider sense, this is an illustration of the divine law of cause and effect (sunnat Allah) which dominates the lives of both individuals and communities, and makes the rise and fall of civilizations dependent on people's moral qualities and the changes in "their inner selves".(Quran Ref: 13:11 )


Saira Andleeb said...

lolz @ girly talk !

whats a girly talk btw and where!!!

Syra said...

Farhan, do you know who Saira Andleeb is by face?

Farhan Hafeez said...

Girly talk: Any talk that two or more girls are doing and if "unfortunately" a guy has to listen/read it, he can not figure out who's saying what :P ... (i think its a nice definition, should be on google :P)

About me, well its the "same" guy on the ice cream treat Syra Baji gave last week .... the one in Professional Services department .. working as Business Analyst .. sorry can not paste my picture here :S

Saira Andleeb said...

that is not a very good definition of a girl talk ... cos in girl talk u'll find the men being sweared at ... (yikes !)

i get cussed a lot for this but im myopic ... and have lost my glassses again ...
so matching the blurred images and the LinkdIn pic ... i thot it was sairas batch mate who wears glasses.


Farhan Hafeez said...

As far as i know, Saira Andleeb is the one who sits right next to the "Circle of Professional Services" in Streams Department.

I hope i am not wrong :S

bilal farooq said...

@Syra: good writeup(y)
yes people need to fix their attitude and work for it...

ghost in ur T.V? how? why? when?

@Farhan: i wonder y would someone believe that animals don't have souls?

Syra said...

@Hadia, making righteous efforts is all that matters and eventually does bring fruitful results. All the prophets (may Allah be pleased with them) continued to make endless efforts in spite of initial set backs and long hardy trials. InshahAllah. Have faith :). All will go well.
Sometimes Allah(s.w.t) is testing our patience and faith. He is most just and most rewarding. So no worries :).

@Farhan, you are rite bro, the sophisticated graceful lady from Xerox streams is my buddy namely Saira Andleeb :).
I called you wiz kid, since you were brilliant at studies. It's not a code work from the girly world :)
Thanks for your comments

@Bilal, Thank you. for the ghost in the t.v story follow the link below:

@Saira, got to find your missing spectacles soon.

Animals are living souls. Treat them well.

Farhan Hafeez said...

I have no problem with animals having souls and i have no problem with treating them well :) Its a Sunnah to treat them well...

But, there are several experiments that suggest this, plus it is also a debate in religious circles...

To be very honest, when i heard this first time, I was surprised too :|

bilal farooq said...

@Syra: LOL at the ghost story

@Farhan: strange experiments :p

Saira Andleeb said...

@Saira: thanks :$ :)

@Hadia: your so right, sometimes you try so hard and dont get what u want, But i believe the real reward lies in not getting what you want but acquiring a level of faith that makes you happier with Gods plan no matter how painful it might appear, and that makes u feel immense peace inside. Like i said before, in an older article :

"Bad times should be welcomed, they are there for reasons beyond our understanding! Knowing that (the apparent) bad is not negative ... what can be more positive than that! feeling bad is inevitable and that is for a reason too! don't let it overwhelm you :). The state of happiness is not something to be longed for; peace is something that outweighs it!"

and something that Isbah said too once:

"True. Life does not work on formulas or facts. It works on experiences and reasons. Its only when the experiences that life has to offer grow on you, that you realize the true reason for your existance. And its only then, that the faith in you makes you see the existance of God.. even in the falling of leaves... & then you know that even when things are falling apart, happiness exists. For its only when old leaves fall, the new ones can grow. & when the new ones grow, the faith strengthens. & Its your faith that tells you that the stories you have read about Heaven & Hell are not just stories... the heart finds its own heaven in the blessings of life, the hug of a friend, the prayer of a mother.. & that the hell in life comes with the tragedies of life... the heart break, the trauma... the accidents Its true. The heart decides. & when it does, you find another world inside the world you live in. But to see this world, the leaves have to fall. For its only when the old leaves fall, the new ones can grow!"

@Farhan: are there any experiments that prove humans have souls too ?

@Bilal: now ive started to feel a little jealous of your machine :P

Syra said...

@Saira, WOW. Jazakallah khayr

@Farhan, send me the links to those experiments

@Bilal, I am glad you enjoyed the ghost story. We have two ghosts here to deal with. Be wary.

khany said...

jazakallah khair for sharing syra.

saira: if i read your first comment correctly it is not so much about question of animal souls but about the 'problem of evil'.
the "mainstream" islamic view is that evil stems from human freewill and our own imperfections.

i agree wholeheartedly with your assertion
i believe the real reward lies in not getting what you want but acquiring a level of faith that makes you happier with Gods plan

you also stated
Bad times should be welcomed, they are there for reasons beyond our understanding!
this excellent presentation lists just 17 benefits of tribulation:
i hope you find it helpful

Syra said...

shukran =)

Saira Andleeb said...

@khany: yes you read my first comment right. it was a metaphorical implication of the problem of evil inside us which most of never bother to tame; and which also causes unbearable afflictions on others. But what we dont realise is that what goes around comes around, if not in this life then in the life hereafter for sure.
my comment never had to do anything with animals having souls :). But i believe even plants have souls mainly because of the concept of prostration we find in quran abt trees.

im glad u agree with my concept abt the benefits of tribulation/pain :)

thanks for the link, looks really interesting. will have a look at it as soon as i get my hands on some fast internet :S :)

Saira Andleeb said...

This ayah reminded me of the problem of evil discussion here:

(4)As to those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds pleasing in their eyes; and so they wander about in distraction. (5) Such are they for whom a grievous Penalty is (waiting); and in the Hereafter theirs will be the greatest loss. (6) As to thee, the Qur'an is bestowed upon thee from the presence of one who is wise and all-knowing.

~Quran, Surah An-Naml: 4 - 6

Syra said...

relevant to the original topic:

Never, Never, Never Give up
~Winston Churchill

Failures are opportunities.
If we have all the success in our life, our learning will stop.Is is in those times of failure that our destinies are re-shaped. When we fall down and instead of staying there, stand up with a new and renewed courage and energy and do it again. Watch a child trying to walk. He falls so many times, and every time he falls, he learns something. One day he will start walking and you can see triumph written on his face. On the other hand, look at our youngsters, they try once or twice or at a maximum thrice and they even stop trying. ....Why do we lose heart so quickly? That is one difference between success and failure. Successes are made out of failures.
~Faiez Seyal
The Road to Success

Imam said...


quranteaching1989 said...

If the worship of a special manner had any power in it, then the bus packed with pilgrims would not have fallen to the pit down hill. And, you wouldn’t have spent rest of your life being crippled. Your deeds and circumstances decides your destiny. You consider somebody a god whom you don’t know at all the body of the prime soul is this creation only. The sun, moon are parts of this creation, and these human beings are tiny part of the same. Likewise, if the sun and moon are gods then you also are Gods. Thus, God’s existence is not effected whether you worship or not. Off course, it is a truth that the materials used for worshiping are mind purifiers for their sacred odor or properties.
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